The second half of November is an interesting time of year. In some ways it’s reminiscent of moments like seeing the team behind by 14 points in a football game fumble the ball away with five and a half minutes left. There are six weeks left in the year, but the final result is starting to feel settled. The rest of the year will be consumed by Thanksgiving, the Christmas season and wrapping the year up.
Luckily, the first fifteen days in November produced enough nice days for a few good bike rides around the area.
Other than that, there hasn’t been too much travel since the end of a major trip two months ago.
It’s mostly just been trips to routine types of places in the area as life had me focusing on other aspects of the human journey.
For most people, two months without “considerable travel” would be quite normal. Beyond those that are far more content with routine than I am, some people have recently written some thought provoking rebukes to the increasing importance we have placed on travel. However, after COVID-19 forced many people to spend far more time at home than they are accustomed to, it is hard not to get the itch to travel more, even after a relatively active summer.
I want to travel everywhere except two places.
I generally try to avoid being negative or controversial on this blog. Perhaps I’ve taken this too far. True, the vast majority of us are experiencing some form of fatigue related to people we know who repeatedly rant about the same things and are always trying to stir up a debate. However, that does not mean the rest of us need to be voiceless. I don’t believe the solutions to the problems we are currently experiencing will come from the places where they were created. Therefore, I have no desire to visit Washington D.C. or Silicon Valley at this point in time.
As we start the long process of winding down 2021 with holidays, family time and reflection, a better approach to pondering where we are and where we are going involves understanding and respecting nuance, while also embracing a common humanity. As is the case with nearly every other period in human history, there are cultural developments that I find encouraging and others I feel we need a course correction on. As should also always be the case, some people will agree with me and others will disagree.
I’ll break down my thoughts on where we are all headed into three categories.
- Awareness and focus on mental health, and a greater acceptance of those who are struggling with mental health issues.
- More people, especially younger generations being interested in entrepreneurship or similar paths and questioning the rigid 9-to-5 work culture of the 20th century.
- A greater interest in self care and spending time in nature.
- Consciousness: People wanting to be more conscious of the decisions they are making. Over three dozen people have told me “doing nothing is still a choice” this year.
- Often underreported continued global progress on issues like diseases, extreme poverty and literacy.
- We still continue to move more stuff online, in a world that desperately needs more community and “in real life” experiences.
- “Safteyism”: How it has created unnecessary bureaucracy and limitations. How it has taken away resiliency, especially in children and created a fragile culture.
- The politicization of everything. Can’t someone just go to the Chick-Fil-A with their trans friend without pissing everybody off?
- Identity politics: It’s great that we are acknowledging how people’s experiences differ based on race, gender, etc. but there is SO MUCH MORE to who a person is and we need to stop reducing people to these surface level aspects of themselves.
- For some reason we are still getting more obese.
- Now, inflation.
- Oh, and what’s with all the auto-tuner?
This has got to go already
- The entire job search process. Seriously, with all of our machine learning and AI, we can’t make this process less time consuming and frustrating? Also, why can’t we make career transitions less daunting?
- The default assumption that answering all questions and solving all issues begins with a web search at the computer. We humans need to solve issues together.
- Conformity of all kinds and the limitations we place on ourselves. Who we can and can’t have friendships, emotional connections, experiences and relationships with. Rules about what activities are done at certain times, how we can and can’t dress, etc. I’ve come to realize that they are all based on insecurity and are all limiting the human experience.
As the sun sets on 2021 and each of our individual outcomes for the year become settled, I dream of what 2022, 2028 and 2035 will be like. It is my hope that we move in a direction that provides for more genuine expressions of self and away from the divisiveness, limitations, loneliness, fear and insecurity present in our more disturbing trends.
There is far more nuance than most people want to admit. Entities, from the internet, to social media, our education and financial systems and religion have had both positive and negative impacts. The key is to take these things and use them for positive purposes. Unfortunately for those who want a simple solution (usually based in Washington DC or Silicon Valley), the way we improve the outcomes for humanity is from the ground-up. It’s the sum of all of our individual efforts and something we can all vastly improve if we do what lights us up and reflects our authentic selves in our day to day lives.
In that respect, 2021 has mostly been a disappointment. Hopefully we can overcome the fear to obtain a better future. I’m starting today by more and more living and speaking my authentic truth.